Martin Wheeler, John Bobinyec, Bob Bischoff, Ed Locklin, David Robinson, Gene Kirkland, Ralph Messera, Harry Clapp, Leon DeBaer, Phil Astwood
Phil Astwood read the minutes of the November 2018 meeting and they were approved with two corrections.
Gene Kirkland presented a financial report for the period from November 16, 2018 to January 18, 2019. The report showed an opening balance of $796.19, income from dues of $165.00, expenditures of $265.10 for printing and postage, and a closing balance of $696.09. Gene also presented a financial analysis report projecting income for 2019 at $3,011.50 and expenditures at $2,158.00. He will run a similar report each meeting to compare predictions with actual income and expenditures.
Update on Resolution Drive in SC in Support of Expanded Rail Passenger Services:
We are prepared for the mailing to legislators once the cover letter is completed, but we will need to print additional copies of the Greenville-Myrtle Beach schedule for future use. Martin will check on this. We also need to adjust the Charleston area map based on the loss of track into downtown. Martin suggested we also offer the cities and towns along the proposed routes the opportunity to meet with one of us to discuss the matter further. John pointed out that extending additional rail service into SC will provide significant additional connectivity for the Palmetto, Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Crescent.
Update on CAPT Fostering Creation of an Organization similar to Virginians for Highspeed Rail:
David and Martin met with David Rue from NC public transportation. Following the meeting, David suggested we approach the establishment of an advocacy organization (perhaps ‘NC on Track’) as a separate initiative within CAPT, but with its own website and eventually its own officers. With some support for expenses, David will push this as hard as possible for one year; contacting public officials, chamber of commerce, business leaders, etc. David distributed copies of the preliminary information that might go online to explain the purposes of the organization. Martin fully supports this. Discussion: Leon- As much as possible, presentations about the project should be made to groups rather than individuals. John – The budget needs to reflect expenses involving such things as meeting handouts, website, etc. Ed – What is the real difference between CAPT and NC on Track? CAPT serves both states, whereas NC on Track would be an outreach in NC to companies and organizations. It would be a different target audience so the board would be made up of interested individuals from the targeted industries and organizations. The organization would have two goals: 1. Promote rail transportation, and 2. Establish an organization, a group of stakeholders, which can do this. David has compiled a list of potentially interested organizations and contact people who realize the benefits of improved rail service in a variety of areas. The Western NC Rail Consortium will certainly be contacted. The Board supported continuing with this.
Update on News in NC and SC Affecting Transit and Passenger Rail Service:
Gene- Plans to include a list of all NCDOT rail equipment in the next newsletter. David – Can do an article on NC on Track. Bob – California Zephyr is now in danger due to rerouting of freight. John - Crescents still do not stop at Clemson. Harrisburg has selected a spot for the new station. Martin – Locations for three new stations have been selected, but NS has put that on hold. Amtrak is initiating a volunteer program to provide staff for stations such as Greenville from which Amtrak staff have been withdraw. Perhaps this is something CAPT could become involved in. Ralph – The new Charleston station opened December 12.
Update on CAPT Newsletter and Website Issues:
Gene -Have enough for next newsletter. Am planning to solicit e-mail addresses to which the newsletter can be sent rather than mailing it. John –Nothing to report.
A second Norfolk train will start up on March 4 as a mid-morning departure. Today the Lakeshore, Cardinal, and Capital Limited were canceled due to snow. More will be canceled tomorrow. Amtrak has put out specifications for new Amfleet 1 cars and will be ordering 75 new locomotives to replace the old GE (P30’s). Engineers on the Piedmonts are not using PTC now and when they do they will need to run slightly slower to avoid setting off an automatic brake application. Roanoke is planning to build a downtown station as part of a redevelopment program in 2020. Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) has a March 1 start date for construction of a 40-mile West Palm Beach to Orlando segment. The Los Angeles to Las Vegas train may start as early as this year.
Reports by Officer and Directors:
John suggested that once the treasurer’s report has been approved, it be included in the meeting minutes. Currently the minutes include only an overview of the report.
Planning for Future Meetings
March 16 – Charleston
May 18 – Raleigh
July 20 – Columbia
September 21 – Charlotte
November 16 - Landrum